Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Obama Effect

According to Polly Toynbee, people like me are part of 'lazy cynical Britain', not because we can't remember what we were doing today, but because the reason we can remember isn't that we were thinking about Obama's inauguration every second of the day. The whole 'everyone remembers where they were when...' meme is more than a little irritating.

From Diana to Obama

I remember where I was when Princess Diana died: I was fast asleep in bed, and when I woke up and trundled downstairs for breakfast, my parents delivered the news in tones of disbelief. My first thought was that it was sad, especially for her kids, but my first act was still to make my breakfast. I just don't seem to have the capacity for affective self-projection into a group emotion.

The same is true of the Obama Effect. There's no arguing with two million spectators; Obama is an indubitable crowd-puller, which is definitely an improvement on an intern-puller. It's not even that I'm unimpressed by Mr Obama, merely that I am not prone, by dint of his inspirational sermonising, to partake in fits of shared delirium. I admit that I feel a spine-tingle when he really gets the rhetoric right, so I guess I see the emotional point-of-departure, but I am perhaps simply too much of a realist cynic to be carried away before I have seen how things develop.

Creusa Ineluctabile

I am posting Cassandra-lite: no bitching nor premonitions, just a lugubrious sense of reality, premised in the hunch that things generally turn out less impressively than we hoped for. As another inspirational President might have been told by a contemporary Prime Minister: 'Events dear boy, events.'

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